The Hamster Wheel
Today’s mom has many roles in life. Sometimes we play both mom and dad, balance a career with household and child rearing responsibilities, and rarely we might have a little time left over for ourselves in between carpooling and activities. Cooking large homemade meals is, for many families, a thing of the past. It’s drive-thru’s and meals out of boxes and bags, and maybe even running out of clean school clothes to wear because there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done we feel driven to do. Some days, when we let it all get to us, we kinda feel like we are in a vicious circle, like we are that crazed hamster running endlessly on a squeaky wheel and can’t escape.
The bright side is, we don’t have to feel this way. We have choices, choices and more choices on that matter, BUT…
While parenting is very rewarding, when things aren’t going so well with our children, we can become dis-empowered and slip into negative thinking. We might feel as if we are utter failures at parenting when our children display behavioral problems in school or at home, or when they are getting bad grades, and in later years, perhaps dropping out of school or deciding not to pursue a college education. The scenarios are endless. For the aware mom that has devoted herself selflessly for years on end for the proper care and keeping of her child(ren), these types of situations weigh heavily upon our minds and hearts because we feel like if we’d just done ________, ________ would never have happened.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Once our kid(s) hit that magic age where peer acceptance becomes more important than that of parent’s, the struggle begins. Well-mannered, A/B student with presentable clothing disappears and we sometimes wonder if the body snatchers have invaded and swapped out our kid for perhaps a rude, angry, troubled child with failing grades and a wardrobe (and new friends) to cringe at. Now in the event of neglectful parenting, an unstable home life, or some kind of trauma, we can better see and understand the “Why’s” behind less desirable changes in personality and habits. Conversely, within the more normal realms of life, these types of potentially alarming changes in a child arise not to make us feel like failures as a mom, but to bring our attention to the fact that our approaches and perspectives on behalf of our maturing child(ren) need to be re-examined and new structures developed.
As a mom of two myself (10 and 12), holistic therapist, and former teacher I have seen a multitude of scenarios and differences in parenting as well as the types of relationships moms have with their kids. Nonetheless, when I face a situation in which my children aren’t “following the plan”, and acting in ways that don’t serve their highest purpose, I tend to beat myself up too, and wonder where I went wrong. As time progresses though, I am becoming more mindful of this and learning to redirect the self blame into something more constructive and empowering. Even though we feel extremely responsible for our children’s success and well being, we have to get to the point of gaining a balanced perspective on what we can control when it comes to our children. It’s not easy, going to happen overnight, and it takes time, effort and repetition to change the way we automatically jump to self-blame mode when it comes to choices our children are making.
Something to Talk About
It may be that your child is struggling with an emotional, social or self-esteem issue you are unaware of. The most important opportunity we can take as moms, is the one in which our child is not thriving and doing what we can to bond strongly with them, gain their full trust, and get to the bottom of what’s causing the unhealthy behaviors. Instead of feeling a sense of having failed as a mom, we instead need to take a red flag as an opportunity to reconnect with our child(ren) and do what we can to encourage them to believe in themselves, their happiness, and potentials.
It’s far too easy for the mom wearing many hats to get caught so caught up in the stresses and demands of working, relationships, parenting, etc., to get into the habit of not being as aware, present and empowered in their parenting.
The Generational Affect
There are no shortcuts to raising children better, healthier and happier than we were or are, which is the way I believe it’s supposed to be. We try to avoid perceived “mistakes” prior generations made for the ultimate purpose of raising children that are not weighted down by the issues we felt resulted from how we were raised.
Being a mom is the most important thing a woman will ever do, as we are creating an ultimate legacy to be carried on in each one of our children. Does this mean mom shouldn’t have time to herself, or feel as if she needs to be a slave to her children? Absolutely not. What it means is that small mundane things that take up precious moments in our life can be traded in for something of the utmost importance – the time, teaching, loving and guiding of our children.
Sometimes in life things get off track to remind us we need to reinforce our attention and efforts. I believe the same applies to our children. Intervening at the first sign of a potential problem with our kids can avoid problems later down the road. At times, we may feel the need to have our child(ren) see a counselor, doctor, tutor or other professional that can perhaps better address the issue(s) they are experiencing better than we can. Simply becoming aware of an issue and bringing your attention to the fact that a red flag is a cry for your help, and doing something about it to help, is the best we can do.
In a Nutshell
Empowered parenting for moms is about realizing and accepting we wear many hats, and they can’t all fit on at once. Realizing there is no such thing as perfection or ultimate control is the first of many steps as we evolve into motherhood. Doing our best to be emotionally, mentally and physically available and present are the biggest gifts anyone will ever be able to give your child, and will leave a lasting, positive imprint on future generations. If we are not confident in our parenting as moms, something genetically, intuitively, and biologically wired in, what can we feel good about?
Accepting ourselves for who and what we are, being authentic and strong empowers us as mothers, not just as women. Whether we fully realize our impact our actions will have on our children at a later time is not so much the issue, because if we are present, aware and empowered now, the choices we make on the best behalf of our children will take on a positive life of their own and carry forward. We want our children to love themselves and be mentally, emotionally and socially well-adjusted, but how many of us as mom’s, women, wives, etc., do nothing but criticize ourselves and live with self-doubt, dragging around guilt and responsibility for a million things we truly have no control over?
The Three R’s
An imbalance of any kind, is simply a reminder that our attention and efforts need to be re-examined, re-focused and re-launched. Perfection is impossible when the mind and ego are the forces fueling our existence. Open awareness, positive intention and effort are the three most significant keys to being empowered as both a woman, and a mom.